Monday, November 9, 2009

Obama's Afghan Plan: About 40K More Troops

This could be floated to gauge the response of the public and media. The truth is the President has no clue on what to do in Afghanistan. The irony will be that if he decides to run for reelection in 2012, a candidate will use our presence in Afghanistan against Obama. Just as he did against Bush as it relates to Iraq. Sending troops to their deaths is no substitute for a strategy.

in reference to:

"Editor's note, 9:57 p.m. EDT: The White House has issued the following response to this story, attributed to White House National Security Advisor James Jones: "Reports that President Obama has made a decision about Afghanistan are absolutely false. He has not received final options for his consideration, he has not reviewed those options with his national security team, and he has not made any decisions about resources. Any reports to the contrary are completely untrue and come from uninformed sources." Tonight, after months of conferences with top advisors, President Obama has settled on a new strategy for Afghanistan. CBS News correspondent David Martin reports that the president will send a lot more troops and plans to keep a large force there, long term. The president still has more meetings scheduled on Afghanistan, but informed sources tell CBS News he intends to give Gen. Stanley McChrystal most, if not all, the additional troops he is asking for."
- Obama's Afghan Plan: About 40K More Troops - CBS News (view on Google Sidewiki)

Sarah Palin Suggests Coin Conspiracy In Wisconsin Speech

It seems the Hatepublicans try to outdue each other to see who is more conspiratorial. The allegations become more outlandish each time. But then again, aren't there still millions in this country that believe 9-11 was an inside job? When you mix ignorance with hard times this is what you get.

in reference to:

"Sarah Palin didn't allow press at her speech Friday at a Wisconsin Right to Life fundraising banquet, and attendees were barred from bringing cell phones, cameras, laptops, or recording devices of any kind. But Politico managed to get a few reporters in to hear the former Alaska governor again raise the specter of death panels and claim an anti-Christian conspiracy in the redesign of U.S. coins. While Palin didn't use the phrase "death panels," she implied that rationed care would lead to elderly or disabled people being denied care to save money. "What may they feel about an elderly person who doesn't have a whole lot of productive years left," Palin asked the audience of about 5,000. (Tickets were $30 each.) "In order to save government money, government health care has to be rationed... [so] then this elderly person that perhaps could be seen as costing taxpayers to pay for a non-productive life? Do you think our elderly will be first in line for limited health care?""
- Sarah Palin Suggests Coin Conspiracy In Wisconsin Speech (view on Google Sidewiki)

Officials: U.S. Aware of Hasan Efforts to Contact al Qaeda

This is becoming a major scandal. If it turns the government knew of this guy's ties to al Qaeda and did nothing about it, heads will role. Dozens of Americans could have died because of this 9-11-type incompetence. And why are there so many unwilling to call this act of terror. There is more concern about hurting the feelings of Muslims than accounting for the loss of all those lives. I smell a cover up in the works.

in reference to:

"U.S. intelligence agencies were aware months ago that Army Major Nidal Hasan was attempting to make contact with people associated with al Qaeda, two American officials briefed on classified material in the case told ABC News. Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan tried to make contact with people linked to al Qaeda. It is not known whether the intelligence agencies informed the Army that one of its officers was seeking to connect with suspected al Qaeda figures, the officials said. Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) said the CIA had, so far, refused to brief the intelligence committees on what, if any, knowledge they had about Hasan's efforts. CIA director Leon Panetta and the Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, have been asked by Congress "to preserve" all documents and intelligence files that relate to Hasan, according to the lawmaker. Hoekstra said he is "absolutely furious" that the house intel committee has been refused an intelligence briefing by the DNI or CIA on Hasan's attempt to reach out to al Qaeda, as first reported by ABC News."
- Fort Hood Shooter Tried to Contact al Qaeda Terrorists, Officials Say - ABC News (view on Google Sidewiki)

Chavez: War Coming in South America

This guy is a problem. We can't afford to ignore him. If the U.S. government isn't careful we could end up with another missile crisis in Latin America. I hope the CIA is in the process of working to overthrow this dictator.

in reference to:

"President Hugo Chavez on Sunday ordered Venezuela's military to prepare for a possible armed conflict with Colombia, saying his country's soldiers should be ready if the United States attempts to provoke a war between the South American neighbors. Chavez said Venezuela could end up going to war with Colombia as tensions between them rise, and he warned that if a conflict broke out "it could extend throughout the whole continent." "The best way to avoid war is preparing for it," Chavez told military officers during his weekly television and radio program. Venezuela's socialist leader has also cited a recent deal between Bogota and Washington giving U.S. troops greater access to military bases as a threat to regional stability."
- Chavez: War Coming in South America - CBS News (view on Google Sidewiki)

60 Minutes: America Unprepared for a Cyber Attack

This report on the threat from cyber terror is the most frightening 60 Minutes story ever. And it sounds to me like the important issue facing America, apart from our disastrous economy. This could be the next 9-11. That's how serious it is. And why did it take 60 Minutes to sound the alarm. Do not trust the government to protect us. They do nothing but fail us. Demand something be done. We need a new agency set up to fight terrorism, including cyber. This is very serious. Take action/prepare now or wake up in the middle of winter without electricity or heat.

Much of it was still theory, but we were told that before too long it might be possible for a hacker with a computer to disable critical infrastructure in a major city and disrupt essential services, to steal millions of dollars from banks all over the world, infiltrate defense systems, extort millions from public companies, and even sabotage our weapons systems.

Today it's not only possible, all of that has actually happened, plus a lot more we don't even know about.

It's why President Obama has made cyber war defense a top national priority and why some people are already saying that the next big war is less likely to begin with a bang than a blackout.

"Can you imagine your life without electric power?" Retired Admiral Mike McConnell asked correspondent Steve Kroft.

[...]"Do you believe our adversaries have the capability of bringing down a power grid?" Kroft asked.

"I do," McConnell replied.

Asked if the U.S. is prepared for such an attack, McConnell told Kroft, "No. The United States is not prepared for such an attack."

[...]President Obama didn't say which country had been plunged into darkness, but a half a dozen sources in the military, intelligence, and private security communities have told us the president was referring to Brazil.

Several prominent intelligence sources confirmed that there were a series of cyber attacks in Brazil: one north of Rio de Janeiro in January 2005 that affected three cities and tens of thousands of people, and another, much larger event beginning on Sept. 26, 2007.

That one in the state of Espirito Santo affected more than three million people in dozens of cities over a two-day period, causing major disruptions. In Vitoria, the world's largest iron ore producer had seven plants knocked offline, costing the company $7 million. It is not clear who did it or what the motive was.

But the people who do these sorts of things are no longer teenagers making mischief. They're now likely to be highly trained soldiers with the Chinese army or part of an organized crime group in Russia, Europe or the Americas.

"They can disrupt critical infrastructure, wipe databases. We know they can rob banks. So, it's a much bigger and more serious threat," explained Jim Lewis, director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Lewis led a group that prepared a major report on cyber security for President Obama.

"What was it that made the government begin to take this seriously?" Kroft asked.

"In 2007 we probably had our electronic Pearl Harbor. It was an espionage Pearl Harbor," Lewis said. "Some unknown foreign power, and honestly, we don't know who it is, broke into the Department of Defense, to the Department of State, the Department of Commerce, probably the Department of Energy, probably NASA. They broke into all of the high tech agencies, all of the military agencies, and downloaded terabytes of information."

How much is a terabyte?

"The Library of Congress, which has millions of volumes, is about 12 terabytes. So, we probably lost the equivalent of a Library of Congress worth of government information in 2007," Lewis explained.

"All stolen by foreign countries?" Kroft asked.

"Yeah. This was a serious attack. And that's really what made people wake up and say, 'Hey, we've got to get a grip on this,'" Lewis said.